Welcome President Duterte! Yes to change, yes to peace!

We in national labor center Kilusang Mayo Uno welcome the inauguration of President Rodrigo “Digong” Duterte with hopes that he will fulfill his pro-worker and pro-people promises that seek to bring the country closer to genuine change and peace based on justice. We have even higher hopes that the Filipino workers and people who seek genuine change and peace based on justice will heighten their unity and intensify their struggle to realize these ideals with the Duterte government.


The change workers need are higher wages, a National Minimum Wage, an end to contractualization, and respect for workers’ rights. Now that he has assumed office, we hope that Duterte will stand firm on his commitment to end labor contractualization. All forms of contractual employment schemes grossly violate basic workers’ rights and should therefore be banned. Workers are also pushing for the implementation of a National Minimum Wage in the amount of P750. This would give establish a genuine minimum wage in the country and give immediate relief to workers and their families amidst the growing hunger and poverty.


We also welcome Duterte’s efforts to work for just and lasting peace in the country by pursuing peace talks with the National Democratic Front of the Philippines. The talks should pave the way to substantial socio-economic reforms that would address the root causes of the armed conflict in the country. We hope that Duterte would fulfill his promise of releasing more than 500 political prisoners, including unionists and labor rights advocates who have been unjustly detained and charged with trumped-up cases, in relation to the resumption of peace talks between the GPH and the NDFP.


Workers are also calling on Duterte to prosecute Benigno “Noynoy” Aquino III for his grave crimes against the Filipino workers and people. Aquino is a criminal, a murderer and should be jailed. He is the Pork Barrel King who siphoned off trillions of taxes to his presidential pork barrel funds through the Disbursement Acceleration Program. He is a murderer who killed hundreds of innocent workers, peasants and Lumad with his counter-insurgency plan Oplan Bayanihan.


Workers vow to support and stand alongside Duterte in implementing pro-worker and pro-people reforms. We will remain vigilant against the foreign and local elites, the biggest capitalists and landlords who are hellbound to sabotage reforms to continue their oppressive rule. We are pushing for the implementation of genuine land reform and national industrialization, and we want the country to pursue an independent foreign policy.


We are calling on the Filipino workers and people, especially the more than 16 million Filipinos who voted Duterte as president to organize and take action to fulfill our aspirations for a meaningful change and just peace. Only through our unity and action as one nation can we achieve genuine development and just and lasting peace.

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Workers say yes to contractualization ban



Workers led by the national labor center Kilusang Mayo Uno marched to the Labor Department’s office in Intramuros, Manila this morning to express support for the incoming Duterte administration’s promise of putting an end to contractualization and outline proposals towards achieving the promise.


“Contractualization must end. It is a bane that violates workers’ every basic right. We are calling on the administration of incoming President Rodrigo Duterte to ban all forms of contractualization,” Elmer “Ka Bong” Labog, KMU chairperson, said.


The labor leader suggested particular short-term and long-term measures to Duterte on how to end contractualization, something the incoming president promised would stop the moment he assumes the presidency.


“President Digong can immediately issue an executive order regularizing workers who have been contractuals for more than six months as mandated by the Article 280 of the Labor Code. He should also revoke DOLE Department Order No. 18-A Series of 2011 that legalized contractualization and led to the spike in the number of contractuals under the Aquino administration,” Labog said.


As a long-term measure, Labog suggested that Duterte implement a total ban on contractualization by amending the Labor Code of 1974 with the objective of junking Article 106 and removing its distinction between the illegal Labor-Only Contracting and the legal Job Contracting.


“By differentiating Labor-Only Contracting and Job Contracting, the Labor Code itself, particularly its Article 106, legalizes contractualization. To totally put an end to contractualization, it must be amended and replaced with provisions that strengthen workers’ rights to security of tenure and criminalizing all forms of contractual employment,” said Labog.


Labog added that Duterte can prioritize the passing of the Regular Employment Bill, which was filed in the 16th Congress by Anakpawis Partylist and Gabriela Women’s Party and heavily penalize capitalists, especially the big foreign and local ones, who implement contractualization.


KMU meanwhile welcomed the appointment of pro-worker officials in the Labor Department such as Silvestre “Bebot” Bello III as secretary and veteran labor leader and lawmaker Joel “Ka Jomag” Maglunsod as undersecretary which, according to Labog, “makes workers more confident that the Duterte administration would uphold their rights and welfare against contractualization and all forms of violation of worker’s rights.”



Norway meeting hailed, peace talks resumption welcomed


Filipino workers led by national labor center Kilusang Mayo Uno held a symbolic protest at the Mendiola Peace Arch in Manila this morning to welcome the resumption of the peace talks between the Philippine government and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines as signalled by the meeting between the two’s panels in Oslo, Norway last June 15.


To show their support for the peace talks, workers wrote down their demands on dove-shaped placards which they said symbolize peace based on justice.


“We welcome the GPH under President-elect Rodrigo Duterte and the NDFP’s efforts to resume the peace talks. It is high time that the two parties hold talks towards a just and lasting peace by addressing the roots of armed conflict in the country,” KMU chairperson Elmer “Ka Bong” Labog said.


The labor leader also welcomed Duterte’s commitment to release detained NDFP consultants even before an amnesty law is passed, as agreed upon in the recently-concluded preliminary talks, as a gesture of goodwill.


“The Duterte administration’s commitment to release political prisoners even before an amnesty law is signed shows how Duterte is way ahead of his predecessors in his sincerity to achieve peace in the country. We are hopeful that our fellow workers, unionists and labor rights advocates who have been illegally detained would come home to their families anytime soon,” Labog said.


According to Labog, the KMU is also hopeful that all political prisoners could be released as soon as possible. Among the more than 500 political prisoners are unionists and labor rights advocates who were been illegally arrested and filed with trumped-up charges for standing up for workers’ rights and welfare.


The labor center also expressed hope that the resumption of talks would serve as a venue to address the issues and substantial demands of Filipino workers that have long been rejected by previous administrations such as the junking of contractualization and the implementation of a National Minimum Wage of P750.


“We hope that the peace process would also serve as a venue to raise the just and substantial demands of Filipino workers for regular jobs, living wages and respect for trade union rights.” said Labog.

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Nakashin’s violations of workers’ rights caused strike

Photo from davaotoday.com

Nakashin’s violations of workers’ rights left workers with no other option but to fight and hold a strike. We cannot emphasize this point enough in response to Davao City Vice-Mayor Paolo Duterte’s claim that it was national labor center Kilusang Mayo Uno which instigated workers to hold a strike and subsequently caused the company’s closure. Don’t look at KMU, look at Nakashin’s violations of workers’ rights.

By refusing to recognize long-term contractual workers as regular employees, Nakashin Davao International Inc. has violated its workers’ right to a living wage, security of tenure and free exercise of trade-union rights. The illegal retrenchment of 75 workers for refusing to sign quitclaim waivers also violates workers’ rights to freedom of expression, assembly, and to organize.

Had the Nakashin management agreed to meet the workers’ just, legitimate and doable demands, they would not have been pushed to hold a strike. Nakashin is more than capable of regularizing its workers who have been employed for four to nine years doing jobs that are deemed desirable and necessary to the company’s operations.

We beg to disagree with the vice-mayor’s demand that President-elect Rodrigo Duterte’s appointment of former Anakpawis Partylist representative and KMU vice-chairperson for Mindanao Joel “Ka Jomag” Maglunsod as the undersecretary of the Department of Labor and Employment be revoked.

Ka Jomag’s appointment as labor undersecretary is essential in ensuring that the incoming Duterte government’s promise of change is realized in the Labor Department. His appointment would ensure that the DOLE would serve the interests of Filipino workers. It would signal a departure from previous administrations’ thrust of neglecting and disrespecting workers’ rights and welfare to boost capitalists’ profits.

We hope that the workers of Nakashin could still hold a dialogue with vice-mayor Duterte and come up with a resolution that’s favorable to workers and the Nakashin management.

World Bank’s opposition to contractualization ban revolting – KMU

We vehemently condemn the World Bank for expressing its opposition to moves to end contractualization in the country.

The defense of contractualization made by Mara Warwick, World Bank Philippines country director – on the basis of the multilateral institution’s “Labor Market Review: Employment and Poverty in the Philippines” report – is most revolting.

It again shows that the World Bank is an evil institution. It was instrumental in the imposition of policies that press down wages, promote contractual employment, and violate trade-union rights in the country. It made the implementation of these policies a precondition for the granting of previous government’s loans. It has consistently served the interests of big foreign and local capitalists.

Contractualization is a wholesale violation of workers’ basic rights and its eradication should be a top agenda of any institution that truly serves workers and the poor. It is most unacceptable that the profits of big foreign and local capitalists continue to grow, as attested by the World Bank, while workers suffer from growing hunger and poverty because of contractualization.

The World Bank is pleading to Filipino workers to endure contractualization by dangling the hope, largely false, that good jobs are coming. The truth is that workers in the US, Europe and other industrialized countries have been suffering from growing precarization of work in recent decades.

Contractualization is being implemented not to pave the way for the arrival of good jobs, but because big foreign and local capitalists are benefiting from it. Only the resistance of workers and peoples stand the chance of rolling back this anti-worker attack. The Filipino workers and people have every right and all the solid reasons to fight for contractualization’s complete junking.

The World Bank is known the world over for its megadam projects, which denies drinking water to millions of people so that global monopoly corporations can rake in huge profits. It is now trying to justify the denial of the most basic workers’ rights through contractualization so that big foreign and local capitalists can rake in huge profits.

The World Bank’s recent statement against the banning of contractualization is similar to the US government’s recent statement re-labeling the Communist Party of the Philippines and the New People’s Army as terrorist groups. They are masquerading as objective reports but aim to thwart progressive reforms which President-elect Rodrigo Duterte vow to implement – the resumption of peace talks with the National Democratic Front of the Philippines and the banning of contractual employment.

We are calling on the Filipino workers and people to reject the World Bank’s lies, which it uses to try to justify its evil prescriptions that attack the basic rights of workers and all Filipinos.

Pagkilala kina Sr. Emelina Villegas at Sr. Angelita Navarro, mga lingkod ng uring manggagawa

sr ems sr lita
sr ems
Maliit na pagtitipon at salu-salo para ipagdiwang ang buhay ng dalawang taong-simbahan na naglingkod sa uring manggagawa. Pinangunahan ng Kilusang Mayo Uno, kasama ang Center for Trade Union and Human Rights o CTUHR, Ecumenical Institute for Labor Education and Research o EILER, at Pagkakaisa ng mga Manggagawa sa Timog Katagalugan o Pamantik.

Tumulong sa mga welga at iba’t ibang pakikibaka. Tumulong sa pagmumulat, pag-oorganisa at pagpapakilos ng mga sr litamanggagawa para sa kanilang sahod, trabaho at karapatan at para sa pambansang kalayaan at demokrasya at tunay na pagbabago sa ating bayan.

Nurse pay hike veto damns Aquino

We condemn Pres. Noynoy Aquino for vetoing the bill seeking an increase in the minimum pay of the country’s nurses. Aquino has shown that he is thoroughly anti-worker until the end of his term. He chooses to ignore the clamor for genuine change which was aired by workers and all Filipinos in the recently-concluded elections.

Aquino chose to ignore the clamor coming from the country’s nurses and workers for bringing the minimum wage closer to the living wage. He knows that there is such a clamor, as shown by his cowardice in issuing the veto less than a month before his term’s end. Previous wage hikes, wage distortions, and existing wage structures do not justify the cruel rejection of a wage hike that is much needed by Filipino nurses.

Like his veto of the P2,000 increase in Social Security System pensions, this veto shows again shows that Aquino is vehemently opposed to giving workers any form of immediate relief. It shows that he prioritizes the interests of big foreign and local capitalists, as well as big bureaucrats, over those of workers and ordinary Filipinos.

We certainly hope that President-elect Rodrigo Duterte will once again show his difference from Aquino on this issue and approve the wage hike. Aquino is leaving Duterte with so much work to do to improve the situation of workers and all Filipinos.

NDFP-GPH peace talks’ resumption hailed



Filipino workers welcome the resumption of the peace talks between the Philippine government and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines. We support the efforts of the GPH under President-elect Rodrigo Duterte and the NDFP to address the root causes of the armed conflict in the country towards attaining a just and lasting peace.

We also welcome the incoming Duterte administration’s commitment to release detained NDFP consultants and all political prisoners as a gesture of goodwill. Among the more than 500 political prisoners are unionists and labor rights advocates who were illegally arrested and charged with trumped-up cases for standing up for workers’ rights and welfare.

We hope that the peace talks would serve as a venue to raise the just demands of Filipino workers for a National Minimum Wage in the amount of P750 daily, regular employment, free exercise of trade-union rights, among others.

Filipino workers are looking forward to a government of national unity, peace and development under the Duterte administration. Workers and all Filipinos need a government that is united in standing up for national sovereignty and patrimony against foreign domination and control, for development through genuine land reform and national industrialization, and for peace based on social justice.

We are also looking forward to the signing of an agreement on social and economic reforms and hope that the GPH would accept the NDFP’s draft for the implementation of genuine land reform and national industrialization which would address the root causes of the armed conflict and are key economic reforms that would bring about sustainable and genuine development to the country.

Amidst these positive developments, we are calling on Filipino workers to be vigilant against any attempt of the US government and rightists in the Philippine government to sabotage the peace process.

Cabusao, de Lima’s release hailed

Even as it called the release of political detainees Sharon Cabusao and Isidro de Lima as “long overdue,” national labor center Kilusang Mayo Uno expressed joy over a Bacoor court’s decision to junk charges of illegal possession of explosives against the two, who were released from detention last Wednesday.

The labor group said the case was in the first place merely fabricated by police and military officials who led the arrest of the leader of women’s group Gabriela and the KMU activist, together with National Democratic Front of the Philippines peace consultant Adelberto Silva, in Bacoor, Cavite in June 1, 2015.

“The case was filed only to justify Cabusao and de Lima’s detention together with Silva. Its junking is long overdue, but we are still very, very glad over our comrades’ release,” said Elmer “Ka Bong” Labog,  KMU chairperson and convenor of the Free Adel Silva Committee.

The labor leader said Cabusao and de Lima’s release is a victory of the non-stop local and international campaign for their freedom, and of very competent people’s lawyers handling the case.

“This is a victory of all labor and women’s groups, all progressive organizations, in the country and abroad, who fought for their release. It is yet another proof that the collective action of workers, women and other sectors is needed in the struggle for political detainees’ freedom given the pro-elite and anti-Left bias of the country’s justice system,” Labog added.

KMU said that while the release has nothing to do with President-elect Rodrigo Duterte’s promise of releasing all political prisoners in relation to the resumption of peace talks with the NDFP, Duterte’s promise showed the country that releasing political prisoners is most just.

“We look forward to the release of Silva, all NDFP consultants, labor rights defenders and political detainees under President-elect Duterte. Like Cabusao and de Lima, they are suffering from mere trumped-up charges and should not be in jail any minute longer. The struggle for the freedom of Silva and all political detainees definitely continues,” Labog stated.

KMU called on all Filipinos who believe in human rights and to the peace talks as a way of addressing the root causes of the armed rebellion in the country to speak out and join protests calling for political detainees’ immediate release.

Japanese embassy picketed over Nakashin strike

DSCF4182editNational labor center Kilusang Mayo Uno held a picket-protest at the Japanese Embassy in Pasay City this morning to demand the regularization of Nakashin Davao International Inc. workers.

Workers of the Japanese food manufacturing and export company operating in Davao City have been on strike since May 25 to demand the reinstatement of 75 workers who were illegally retrenched, the regularization of all long-term contractuals, and the full payment of the workers’ Service Incentive Leave and other underpaid benefits.

“We are calling on the Japanese government to tell their companies here in the country to respect workers’ rights. They must tell Nakashin to reinstate their illegally-retrenched workers and regularize all its long-term contractual employees,” said Elmer “Ka Bong” Labog, KMU chairperson.

The Nakashin management terminated 75 workers last April 9 because of the latter’s refusal to sign waivers and quitclaims which would cut their length of service after workers held a protest demanding the regularization of long-term contractuals.

“The 75 workers who are asserting their regularization in Nakashin have been working in the company for four to nine years and therefore deserve nothing less, but were illegally retrenched. This is clearly a violation of workers’ rights and constitute contractualization,” said Labog.

The labor leader also insisted that the workers’ demands are just and the Nakashin management is bound by the Philippines’ labor laws to heed the demands and is more than capable of doing so.

“The long-term contractuals employed by the agencies hired by the company should already be deemed regular employees of Nakashin under the law, but are still being denied regularization. They have every right to hold a strike against this greedy capitalist,” Labog said.

Even exsting labor laws state that employees who are performing tasks that are necessary and desirable to the usual business of the company – such as the Nakashin workers who are packers, slicers, cold storage attendants, and receivers – are considered regular employees.

The labor center meanwhile called on Filipino workers to support the strike of Nakashin workers, saying their fight for regularization is a blow to the Aquino government’s policy of promoting and legalizing contractual employment.